You don’t need to have any musical talent to make some “sweet” music with these Music Note Decorated Cookies!
This week my younger daughter and I both had a piano recital. There were 10 students ages 5-13 who performed, and then one 37 year old student… that would be me! And let me assure you, I was not the most advance student of the group!
Each family was asked to bring a snack/finger food to share and I thought it would be fun to make some music note decorated cookies. When I arrived at the recital I felt much more confident in my cookie decorating than my musical ability! I did make it through my song, with just a few errors… but I think my errors were overlooked as the recital guests enjoyed these cookies! =)
These music note cookies could certainly be made in any color combo… they would be great in school colors for a band concert, or simply black and white for a more formal event.
This set was inspired by these perfect music cookies from Bee In Our Bonnet.
If you follow me on Instagram (and you should of course!) you got a sneak peek of these cookies as I was getting started on them…
Here’s how I made these Music Note Decorated Cookies…
Start with a batch of cookies made from my Sugar Cookie Recipe.
Prepare a batch of Royal Icing as well.
For each design (the music note shape and the round cookies) I prepared two bags of icing in each base color (in this case, pink, orange, green and blue) and then one bag of black icing. The colored (not black) icing should be thinned so that one bag of icing is a thicker/outline consistency, similar to the consistency of toothpaste… thick enough it stays in place when piped, but it should not hurt your hand to squeeze the bag, or be so thick that it leaves peeks of icing as you lift up on the bag. Add this icing to a piping bag fitted with a #1.5 or #2 piping tip, filling the bag with a bit less than 1/2 of the icing of that color.
Once you’ve prepared the bag of thicker icing, add a bit more water to the remaining icing (of that particular color) and thin to a flood consistency, about the consistency of shampoo or corn syrup. This should be thin enough that when piped it flows easily and fills in on itself. Add this icing to a piping bag fitted with a #2 tip.
For each cookie, outline the cookie with the thicker icing, then fill in with the thinner/flood icing.
You might notice I mentioned piping tips in the directions, and yet in the Instagram photo above you can see I’m using bags without tips. Feel free to go either route. I have recently be using tipless piping bags from Truly Mad Plastics and am really enjoying them! You fill them with icing, then cut a tiny hole (as big or small as you wish) and can use them just as you would a bag with a metal tip. I love that there is no clean up and I actually have found that for tiny details I like them even better than using a small tip (such as a #1 or #1.5). Again, either way (tips or tipless bags) you can achieve the same end results, it’s just personal preference or using what you have.
If you are new to cookie decorating, I would recommend looking through a few of my step-by-step tutorials HERE, HERE and HERE.
Allow the base icing to dry fully (4 hours or more) before adding the black details, or adding an outline to top with sanding sugar (as pictured).
Certainly you could adjust this set to fit your occasion… you might want to add a school name, or person’s name on some of the cookies. You could keep it simple by just adding music notes to the cookies, or you can get as technical as you like with other musical symbols. My daughter pointed out that I made a symbol for a sharp note, but not a flat. =)
A non-cookie related note…
You may (or may not) have noticed it’s been a couple weeks since my last post (which is quite unusual). All is well here, and I have LOTS of ideas in mind I would love to share… but time seems to be my enemy these days! As of this week, my girls will be on summer break and it seems near impossible to be the mom I want to be and blog full time simultaneously. I do plan to share some sweet and pretty things on the blog this summer, but my posting will likely be a bit less frequent than usual. Of course I have SO many recipes in my Recipe Index, there should be plenty to keep you busy all summer!
Magnolia Bakery in New York City might deserve credit as one of the bakeries that started the cupcake craze, but one of their most popular bakery items is not a cupcake… it’s banana pudding!
Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding is one of my favorite treats of all time! Creamy, fluffy pudding, fresh banana and simple vanilla cookies combine to create a dessert that is so much more than the sum of it’s parts!
Last year I visited New York City for the first time in my life. Of course there were many iconic places I wanted to visit… Central Park, Time Square, and Magnolia Bakery! When you love sweets and baking as much as I do, it’s easy to see why bakeries are always high on my list of “must see” stops whenever I travel!
As I stood in front of the bakery display at Magnolia Bakery, trying to decide which pretty treat to choose, a lady ran in and went right to the register to order 2 large banana puddings. I hadn’t even noticed the banana pudding, but she seemed quite passionate about it, so I figured I’d better try one too. I ordered a couple different selections (to share with a friend) and included one small order of banana pudding. Each of the items I shared with my friend was delicious… but the banana pudding was by far our favorite! Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding is sweet and fluffy (not as thick as regular pudding), with pieces of what I thought was vanilla cake, and then fresh banana. It’s simply delicious!
After my trip I made sure to seek out the recipe, and luckily it’s available for all to enjoy in The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, along with lots of other delicious recipes!
I made a batch of this delicious pudding and shared a couple jars with a friend. I’m pretty sure our friendship is sealed for life, thanks to this amazing pudding! =)
I’ll have to say I was a bit surprised by this recipe… the ingredients seem so simple, boxed mix pudding, Nilla wafers, banana… but a few unique techniques transform these common ingredients into a truly special dessert! When I first tried this pudding at Magnolia Bakery I was sure that the recipe included vanilla cake… come to find out it’s simply vanilla cookies that have become just soft enough to resemble cake, and yet they are not soggy (as I would have assumed if I’d never tried it for myself).
I can’t urge you enough… just make this!
Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding
This banana pudding dessert is creamy, fluffy and oh so delicious!
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups cold water (filtered is best)
1 small box (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1 box of Nilla Wafers (cookies)
4 medium bananas
In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend sweetened condensed milk and cold water until combined. Add pudding mix and blend on medium speed about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight).
After the pudding mixture has chilled and is very firm (at least 4 hours), beat cold whipping cream in the bowl of an electric mixer until the cream is fluffy and holds a stiff peak. Then, use a spatula to gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream (add the pudding to the whipped cream in two batches). Fold/stir just until the pudding is combined. Fill (2/3 full) a large piping bag or a large ziplock bag with the whipped pudding (then snip off one corner of the bag).
Pour about 1/2 of the box of Nilla Wafers into a large bowl and break up each cookie in half or into a couple pieces.
Slice bananas, reserving a 1/2 of a banana (in the peel) to slice and add just before serving.
Begin assembly by adding a few broken cookies, a few slices of banana, and a layer of the pudding. Repeat with cookies, banana and pudding. Add a third layer if possible (depending on your dishes). Chill assembled desserts at least 30 minutes or up to 6 hours. Shortly before serving, add a garnish of a few broken cookies and a slice of banana.
Have you ever visited Magnolia Bakery? What’s your favorite treat from their gorgeous selections?
Looking for a banana pudding dessert that doesn’t call for boxed mix pudding? Try one of my most popular recipes of all time, this delicious Banana Caramel Cream Dessert!
Sweet, salty, crispy, chewy… these amazing Salted Butterscotch Cookies will blow your mind!
When I recently created some luscious Coconut Cut Out Cookies I wanted to play around with fillings or toppings to compliment the toasted coconut flavor.
Certainly, chocolate is always a good choice with coconut, but I also really love caramel and butterscotch flavors with coconut! And in my mind, caramel is not quite complete with a bit of salt… so I knew the flavors I wanted to combine!
I thought back to some delicious cookies my talented cookie friend Melissa, of The Baked Equation shared with me a year ago… her famous Salted Butterscotch Cookies!
Melissa adds a butterscotch glaze to her delicious vanilla/cinnamon/amaretto cookies and I knew a similar idea would be perfect for my toasted coconut cookies! With her permission, I worked up a simple butterscotch ganache, added some fleur de sel salt and created one of the most delicious combos ever!
These cookies are sweet, salty, buttery and oh so good!
You almost have to close your eyes when you take the first bite! There are so many little flavors working together you need to just stop and enjoy the symphony in your mouth for a moment.
To make these delicious Coconut and Salted Butterscotch Cookies you’ll need to make a batch of my Coconut Cut Out Cookies.
I’m sure this salted butterscotch combo would also be a perfect topping for my basic Vanilla Sugar Cookies, and I’d be tempted to try it with Chocolate Cut Out Cookies as well!
I cut my cookies in thin rectangles using a cookie cutter I designed for Truly Mad Plastics (1″x4″). Depending on how fine the coconut in your dough is, you may want to use the cookie cutter to score the dough, then use a sharp knife to make the final cut. Of course feel free to make these cookies in any shape you like!
This simple glaze adds an amazing layer of flavor to sugar cookies or shortbread.
1 cup good quality butterscotch chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
good quality sea salt, such as Fleur de Sel
Bake and cool cookies of your choice. Line up cookies on a wire baking rack with a large baking sheet beneath. This will help catch any excess ganache and salt as you "dress" the cookies.
Pour butterscotch chips into a medium bowl and set aside.
Heat the heavy cream until almost boiling (in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove). Pour hot cream over the bowl of chips and set aside for 1-2 minutes. Stir mixture slowly, preferably with a small whisk. Continue to stir as needed until the chips are fully melted and the cream has been fully incorporated (this make take several minutes).
Allow the mixture to cool several minutes. You want the mixture to cool and thicken a bit, but still be pourable. Once it's reached a nice consistency, use a small spoon to drizzle the ganache over your choice of cookies.
As soon as you have added the ganache to 3-4 cookies, immediately add a sprinkling of very good quality sea salt, such as fleur de sel. Allow ganache to set up (20 minutes or so) before packing cookies or storing them.
The final ganache will set up firm enough to package cookies in a single layer (not stacked). You can stack them if you chose, but the ganache may get a bit smashed.
Recipe source - Glorious Treats, inspired by cookies by The Baked Equation
I used Guittard butterscotch chips and Esprit Du Sel Fleur de sel salt.
Give this recipe a try and I think you’ll fall in love with these Coconut and Salted Butterscotch Cookies as much as I have!
If you want to try the delicious cookies that inspired these, hop on over to The Baked Equation and order a batch! While you’re there, you’ll find the most beautiful assortment of decorated cookies as well. The Baked Equation ships nationwide, so be sure to bookmark their site so you can contact them whenever you need custom cookies!
Prop note – Photo backdrop by Ink and Elm.
There are a few recipes that every baker should keep close at hand as their go-to recipes! In my opinion, that short list should include an amazing Chocolate Cake/Cupcake recipe, Vanilla Cake/Cupcake recipe, Brownies, Chocolate Chip Cookies and THESE Blondies!
This recipe for Kitchen Sink Blondies is perfect for adding in “everything but the kitchen sink!” It’s an easy blondie bar recipe for you to mix and match additions of your choice… chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, nuts, coconut… the options are almost endless!
Last week, as I was thinking of making a batch of blondies, I was undecided on what additions to mix-in. I pulled out my bin of assorted “chips” and found I had quite an assortment of 1/2 and 1/4 filled bags. I realized many of us likely have this “problem” and figured instead of choosing what to add in… I’d just add it all!
The results of my little experiment were amazingly delicious! These Blondies are thick, chewy, moist and flavorful! I know I’ll be using this recipe again and again to use up my mis-matched assortment of baking goodies.
Kitchen Sink Blondies
These Blondies are perfect for adding your choice of mix-ins! This recipe produces, thick, chewy, flavorful Blondie Bars.
Yield: 1- 9"x13" pan (about 24 bars)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup unsalted Challenge Butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mixed chips (your choice, see notes)
1 cup chopped nuts (your choice, see notes)
1. Preheat your oven to 325*F and line a baking pan with parchment (or foil). Leave some paper hanging over the sides, so you can easily pull the bars out of the pan after baking. Lightly butter any portion of the pan that is not covered in paper (this should be the two shorter sides of the pan)
2. If desired, chop and then toast nuts of your choice, and/or coconut (see recipe notes). Spread on a baking sheet and then bake in preheated oven (325*F) for 3-6 minutes (keep a close eye on them, as nuts and/or coconut can burn quickly). When fragrant and golden, set aside to cool.
3. In a large mixer, blend together both sugars and warm, melted butter. Blend until well combined, then add eggs (one at a time) and vanilla and continue to blend until fully combined. Stop mixer.
4. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Then, while the mixer is on low, slowly add the flour to the butter/sugar mixture. Stop the mixer immediately when you have added all the flour.
5. Add mix-ins of your choice (chips, nuts, coconut) to the mixing bowl and blend just until evenly incorporated.
6. Scoop dough into prepared pan and spread with an off-set spatula (the surface should be level before baking).
7. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and there is no wet batter visible.
8. Remove from oven and allow to cool FULLY before cutter (1 hour or more). For easiest cutting, run a knife around any edges of the bars that are touching the sides of the pan, then pull up on the parchment paper and place the giant bar on a cutter board. Cut with a serrated knife, wiping off between cuts as needed.
Recipe source - Glorious Treats (adjusted from my S'mores Bars recipe)
Mix-ins - For this recipe I used 1 1/2 cups mixed chips (including dark chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips and toffee bits). I also added 1 cup of chopped (toasted) walnuts. If you do not care for nuts, try adding toasted coconut. If you do not want to add nuts or coconut, I would suggest adding a total of 2 cups of mixed "chips".
To ensure easy cutting, you must be patient and wait until the bars are FULLY cooled before cutting. This is likely the hardest part of this recipe! =)
Reduce salt to 1/2 teaspoon if using salted butter.
I used Challenge butter, but feel free to use a high quality brand of your choice.
I love coconut, and I love cookies… and I’ve been dreaming of creating these Coconut Cut Out Cookies for quite some time!
These cookies are quite delicious as is, but they are the perfect canvas for decorating as well! Wouldn’t these coconut cookies be the perfect base for some fun summer or luau party cookies?
As much as I love my basic sugar cookie recipe for decorated cookies, this coconut version is my new favorite! These coconut cut out cookies are rich, buttery, chewy and flavorful!
I opted for toasted coconut in this recipe and it adds just the perfect rich and nutty flavor! You’ll notice, the toasted coconut also adds little flecks of brown to the cookies.
Although I did create these cookies to be used as a base for decorated cookies, I would recommend choosing simpler shapes for this dough (circles, hearts, etc.). Because of the added texture from the coconut, more intricate shapes make not cut perfectly, as there may be a few pieces of coconut that create a bit of an imperfect edge. If the bit of ”character” on the edges bothers you, feel free to use a food processor to pulverize the coconut a bit more than I did.
Coconut Cut Out Cookies
These coconut cookies are rich, flavorful and delicious! Feel free to enjoy them as is, drizzle with a bit of chocolate, or decorate with royal icing.
Yield: 18-20 (3") cookies
1 cup finely chopped, toasted coconut
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
Spread 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut onto a baking sheet. You want to end up with 1 cup of finely chopped (processed in the food processor) coconut, so you need to start with more than that.
Bake coconut in a pre-heated 350*F oven for 3-7 minutes. Check after 2 minutes, then check and stir around every minute or so after. The coconut can burn VERY quickly, so watch it closely. The coconut is done when it is golden brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, add flour and baking powder. Whisk gently, then set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add sugar and blend until well combined.
While slowly blending, add egg and both extracts. Blend until combined and then stop mixer and scrape down the side of the bowl.
Place cooled coconut into a food processor and process until the coconut is no larger than 1/4" in length. The smaller the coconut pieces, the easier it will be to cut more intricate shapes, but also you'll loose some of the nice chewy texture that the coconut adds, so process as much or as little as you like. Add processed coconut to the bowl of flour, and stir together.
Start the electric mixer back on low, and slowly pour the flour/coconut mixture into the bowl. Blend until fully combined and the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
Dump the dough into the bowl the flour was in, and scrape out any little bits of dough (into the flour bowl). Grab about half of the dough and form into a large ball (kneed by hand just a bit if needed) and put dough into a large ziplock bag (or wrap in plastic wrap). Repeat with the other half of the dough. Flatted the (wrapped) balls of dough just a bit, and put the two flatted disks of dough in the fridge for 15-30 minutes until firm.
Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured work surface, or between two sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll to about 1/4"-1/3" thick and cut into desired shapes. Add cookie shapes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat liner and once you've filled the baking sheet (leaving about 1" spacing between shapes), place the entire baking sheet in the fridge or freezer for 10-15 minutes.
Bake (well chilled cookies) in a pre-heated 350*F oven for 9-11 minutes. The cookies should be just beginning to have a bit of golden brown on the edges and not appear moist in the center, but still be mostly quite light in color. Cool on baking sheet about 1 minute, then move to a wire cooling rack.
Enjoy cookies as is, or decorate as desired with royal icing, chocolate, etc.
Recipe source - Glorious Treats
If you're new to making cookies, you can see step by step photos on rolling out the dough in my Sugar Cookie Recipe post.
Here are a few more delicious coconut recipes…
Samoa Cupcakes - Chocolate cupcakes topped with salted caramel buttercream and toasted coconut, needless to say, these are incredible!
Almond Joy Krispie Treats - Delicious homemade rice krispie treats inspired by Almond Joy candy bars… chewy, crispy and delicious!
Coconut Macaroons - These gorgeous macaroons look just like they came from a high end bakery, but they’re surprisingly easy to make!